Last week, I shared with each of you an abundance of yoga philosophy in the shape of the Yamas and Niyamas. I realized that implementing and practicing these virtues can be overwhelming. Maybe it is best to target one that you want to work on in your life for awhile. Practicing with one concept at a time could set up a framework for the other concepts to follow.
I’ll take you through an example of how to work with one of these virtues. *note that these virtues can be used with how we act in the world and how we act with ourselves.
Ahimsa (non-violence)a Yama (abstinence)
When I first think of this way to behave, I think of my actions not harming another being. Yes, this is true. But it can go further, to harmful thoughts of others and of myself. Do I continue to have harmful habits affecting my body (coffee drinking, not getting enough sleep) or my mind (sense of self worth)? There are many ways to cause harm. I heard though that this doesn’t include those darn lantern flies (not really – still feel the guilt for harming any being)!
So how will I put into action this virtue of Ahimsa?
1.First begin with intention (Sankalpa): as a mantra for my day
“I am enough.”
2. Then put it into practice: coffee intake
As I make my coffee, instead of making it fully caffeinated, make it half caff, half decaf. Continue to reduce the caffeine intake.
3. Observe the effects of less caffeine on my body (hot flashes may lessen), my nerves (less adrenaline rush), my appetite (eating a fuller meal at lunch, rather than nibbling – more aligned with my natural tendencies), better sleep.
“Listen to the force that enters your body and nourishes you.”
“The breath is our metronome of now.”
“The breath is full of wisdom. It pauses between your inhales and exhales. It is like a thermometer. It lets you know your state of mind.”
2 bolster fold blanket placed lengthwise on mat on top of each other. Make one blanket roll at end of mat for ankle support. Rest of that blanket fills in gap where shin does not meet the floor. Knees will rest on the floor. Top bolster folded blanket roll towards you in a wider roll to fit in chest and shoulder area. One more blanket folded so that its height is the same as the two bolster folded blankets.
Come to all fours straddling the props, release to forearms and then fully recline on props. Ankles rest on small roll at end of mat, shins supported by the rest of that blanket. Rest the rest of your body at hip crease on the bolster fold blankets and lay chest on wider roll of top blanket. Head rests on additional blanket at top, turned to the side. Arms come out to the sides, releasing shoulders down the back and away from the ears. Placing an eye pillow or stuffed animal in palms as they face floor is very grounding and comfortable. Additional blankets for pillows tucked in as needed with student to create boundaries or make more comfortable.
Heart Opening Pose (Minimal Prop) – 3 Versions